River Valley Family Health Center

River Valley Family Health Center LPC license professional counselor Elise Peterson, left, Nursing Director Christy Shelley, Clinical Director Rachel Stranathan and CEO Jeremy Carroll stand in the soon-to-be dental room at the Olathe facility. River Valley recently received funding to hire another dental hygienist.

River Valley Family Health Center CEO Jeremy Carroll said he can’t believe the local nonprofit will add to its dental care team only nine months after adding the service to its site.

River Valley’s Delta site has one dentist and one dental hygienist, but that’s about to change: A dental hygienist is coming on board to the clinic’s Olathe location, thanks to a recent grant.

“To already increase that capacity by 33 percent is pretty exciting for our community,” Carroll said, referring to River Valley’s three sites. These include Montrose, which doesn’t yet provide dental work.

“It’s great for River Valley to grow, but that’s not why we are in this business. We’re in this business to provide really good services to our community,” Carroll said.

River Valley, 308 Main St. in Olathe, was one of 10 Colorado nonprofit health practices on April 9 that was given funding from the Denver-based organization Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, or DDCOF, to hire a full-time dental hygienist.

The money came from wave two of DDCOF’s Colorado Medical-Dental Integration Project (CO MDI). CO MDI’s goal is to help families who have restricted access to dental care.

DDCOF’s enterprise will provide $3.3 million over four years to the 10 providers. The Olathe site will receive $185,000 of that amount, according to Carroll.

“This will allow us to be able to offer not just to our Olathe patients, but all of our patients and the community,” Carroll said. “... This will be a huge benefit. This won’t just get basic hygiene done, but it will allow us to find if they have any more major issues that we need to deal with.

“That will allow us to get them to our dentist or another local dentist to get those taken care of.”

He added he hopes to bring a new specialist on board in the next few months as the hiring process has already begun.

Although River Valley has increased its dental care capabilities in less than a year, Carroll said it’s still a process for the nonprofit.

Workers will travel for CO DMI training in Denver, which began this weekend, said Rachel Stranathan, River Valley clinical director. She said the instruction will better help the medical facility transition into offering such extra services.

“We need to offer that fairly seamlessly to our patients,” Stranathan said. “We just need to find good workflows, integration practices and other shared services that we could potentially offer to our patients together rather than one service at a time.”

Carroll stressed the importance of having a clinic where staff can treat entire patient needs.

“It’s just not their diabetes, not just their depression that they might have,” Carroll said. “Now we can take care of the head and mouth and their whole body.”

Stranathan indicated facilities are trending toward such all-systems care.

“At this point, health care is being moved more toward integration and integrated with behavioral health with dental and medical services in all one location,” she said. “So it’s very beneficial for the patient.”

The site wasn’t the only Montrose County health service awarded funding. The PIC Place also received the endowment. (See the April 13 Montrose Daily Press.)

Being awarded funding is critical, Carroll said.

“As a nonprofit, getting these kinds of grants is one of the quickest ways that allows us to offer these kinds of additional services,” he said.

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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